Nurses are at high risk of incurring workplace violence during their working life. This paper reports the findings on a cross-sectional, descriptive, self-report, postal survey in 2007. A stratified random sample of 3000 of the 29 789 members of the Queensland Nurses Union employed in the public, private and aged care sectors resulted in 1192 responses (39.7%). This paper reports the differences: between those nurses who experienced workplace violence and those who did not; across employment sectors. The incidence of workplace violence is highest in public sector nursing. Patients/clients/residents were the major perpetrators of workplace violence and the existence of a workplace policy did not decrease levels of workplace violence. Nurses providing clinical care in the private and aged care sectors experienced more workplace violence than more senior nurses. Although workplace violence was associated with high work stress, teamwork and a supportive workplace mitigated workplace violence. The perception of workplace safety was inversely related to workplace violence. With the exception of public sector nursing, nurses reported an inverse relationship with workplace violence and morale.